Household Budgeting Should Apply to Government

Should we build our deck? This is the question that one Iowa family shared with us recently. For years, this family has been saving to build a deck on the back of their house, but with the current economic uncertainty they are trying to decide whether this is the best use their money.   Many Iowans can relate.  Maybe for […]

Iowa Governor Makes the Grade

The Cato Institute released their 2020 Fiscal Policy Report Card on American Governors, which “grades governors on their fiscal policies from a limited‐​government perspective.” The report utilized “statistical data to grade the governors on their tax and spending records — governors who have restrained taxes and spending receive higher grades, while those who have substantially increased taxes and spending receive […]

Conservative Budgeting Pays Off

Governor Kim Reynolds announced, Iowa will “end Fiscal Year 2020 with a balance of $305.5 million in its General Fund.” Governor Reynolds and the Republican legislature have been following prudent budget policies. This has been especially difficult considering the COVID-19 pandemic and uncertainty in the agricultural markets.   “Fiscal responsibility has put the state of Iowa in a strong position […]

2020 Candidate Education Guide

Recently TEF Iowa polled Iowans to get their view on some key public policy issues. In this guide you will find not only how Iowans think about these issues, but also public policy solutions that align with the interest of Iowans. TEF Iowa has developed this guide as a resource to provide legislative candidates additional information on some of the […]

Taxpayer Protection Starts with Limiting Spending

Governor Kim Reynolds and the legislature have been working to control spending in Iowa. Prior to the COVID-19 emergency, Iowa was in a strong economic position with healthy and stable revenue growth. This included $800 million in reserves and a $400 million surplus. By March, all of this changed as the pandemic triggered an economic downturn and revenue uncertainty. In […]

Tax Rates Are the Key to Economic Competitiveness

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) released the 13th edition of Rich States, Poor States: ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index. Rich States, Poor States, measures the competitiveness of each state in terms of economic outlook and performance. In the latest rankings, Iowa has moved from 29th to 25th in terms of economic performance, but in terms of economic outlook, Iowa […]

How Much Does Government Cost in Iowa?

Can you think of any area of your life that is not directly impacted by government? Government, whether at the federal, state, or local level, has grown considerably overtime. The escalating $26 trillion national debt is the most symbolic description of the growth of government.  As more demands are placed on all levels of government, it creates a problem. As […]

Spending Restraint: A Conservative Budget

Crafting a state budget is never an easy process and this year was especially difficult with drafting a budget amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to the COVID-19 emergency, Iowa was in a strong economic position with healthy and stable revenue growth. By March, all of this changed as the pandemic triggered an economic downturn and revenue uncertainty. In May, the […]

Uncle Sam’s “Free” Handouts

Iowa, just as with other states, has become dependent on the federal government for support. Iowa’s $7.6 billion state budget is dependent on the equivalent in federal aid to help fund numerous programs. Through these funds, the federal government can impose both funded and unfunded mandates on the states.  This growing dependency on Uncle Sam is dangerous not only because […]

Tough Budget Decisions Ahead

Iowa’s economy is reopening, but the economic impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus) is still uncertain. Iowa’s April unemployment rate was 10.2 percent because of business closures resulting from social distancing policies used to mitigate the virus. The economic impact of COVID-19 is still a fluid situation. One of the uncertainties is the impact of the virus on state and local revenues. […]

Iowa Revenue Source

Do you know that the income taxes you pay to the state of Iowa makes up the majority of the General Fund budget? Iowa’s General Fund is supported not just by income taxes, but also sales and a variety of other taxes, fees, and revenue sources. In addition, the budget is supported by taxes paid to the federal government. In […]

Uncle Sam to the Rescue?

David Kennedy, prominent historian and Stanford University professor, in an interview with Governing discussed the COVID-19 (coronavirus) emergency in relation to the Great Depression. In that interview he stated, “[President] Calvin Coolidge said that if the federal government went out of business, the average person wouldn’t notice for six months, except for the post office. Now, the federal government is twice the size of the states all put together.”     […]

State Tax Reform’s Gold Standard

North Carolina is one of the state’s best prepared to deal with the budget challenges from the new coronavirus outbreak. It also represents the gold standard for state tax reform, and the connection between these two should not be lost. The Tar Heel state has successfully reduced tax rates, while controlling the growth of spending and funding the priorities of […]

Navigating Tax Reform

Reforming a state tax code in order to provide relief, economic growth, and create a more competitive economic climate is difficult. A major reason for this difficulty is tax rate reduction is in direct conflict with numerous policy interests that demand new or additional spending. Rather than reducing rates and reforming the tax code, it is often easier to approach […]

Understanding the Societal Cost of Runaway Tax Credits

Iowa’s massive tax credit programs come at a very real and harmful cost to its ability to provide basic public services. Any meaningful discussion of how much Iowa’s state and local politicians are handing out in tax credits must include the context of what governments could have accomplished with the revenues they won’t be receiving thanks to those tax breaks, […]

Helping Iowa Grow

People vote with their feet. Iowa’s population and economic growth requires lowering income tax rates and controlling spending.   There is clear evidence states that reduce tax rates and control spending not only grow economically but attract new residents. Tax rates matter and the more a government taxes something the less you get. High taxes not only discourage investment, entrepreneurship, […]

For Iowa to Lower Tax Rates, it Must Show Spending Restraint

How can Iowa make sure its recent tax reform is fully implemented, including the adoption of fewer and lower tax rates in 2023? The only proven way to lower tax rates is with spending restraint. Some of us in our personal lives have learned Dave Ramsey’s lesson that you cannot out-earn your own stupidity. No state can out-tax bad budgets. […]

 
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